Chief of Staff of the Qatari Armed Forces Major General (Pilot) Ghanem bin Shaheen Al Ghanem (photo) separately met in Doha with Brigadier Hamad bin Rashid al-Balushi, Assistant SAF Chief of Staff for Operations and Planning in the Sultanate of Oman and Admiral Didier Piaton, Commander of the French Forces in the Indian Ocean, and their accompanying delegations.
Talks during the meetings dealt with matters of common interest between the two countries and means of enhancing them.
A number of senior Armed Forces Commanders attended the two meetings.
The Qatar Armed Forces are the military forces of Qatar. The country maintains a modest military force of approximately 11,800 men, including an army (8,500), navy (1,800) and air force (1,500). Qatar's defense expenditures were a total of $1.913 billion, about 1.5% of the national GDP, as of 2010 according to the SIPRI.
Qatar has recently signed defense pacts with the United States in 2002 and 2013 and with the United Kingdom, as well as with France earlier, in 1994. Qatar plays an active role in the collective defense efforts of the Gulf Cooperation Council; the other five members are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, and Oman.
The presence of a large American military base in the country provides the country with a guaranteed source of defense and national security.
SIPRI states that Qatar's plans to transform and significantly enlarge its armed forces have accelerated in 2014, and in 2010-14 Qatar was the 46th largest arms importer in the world. Orders in 2013 for 62 tanks and 24 self-propelled guns from Germany were followed in 2014 by a number of other contracts, including 24 combat helicoptersand 3 AEW aircraft from the USA, and 2 tanker aircraft fromSpain.